Key West Transit this week was honored to receive the 2023 Innovation and Creativity Award from the Florida Public Transportation Association during the organization's annual conference.
Selected from the 40 urban and rural Florida transit systems, this award honors a public transportation system that has demonstrated innovative or creative concepts and effective problem-solving techniques for the public transportation industry.
"Faced with numerous transit challenges in the wake of COVID-19, Key West Transit viewed the pandemic as an opportunity to reinvent operations," said Transit Director Rod Delostrinos. "Over three years, Key West Rides On Demand Transit service was developed to address severe driver shortages, restore community transit coverage, and provide a more efficient transit system."
Key West Transit collaborated with Via Mobility LLC to introduce a microtransit service that replaced the local fixed-route service with a demand-response service while still using existing buses and personnel. This approach is a departure from using microtransit on-demand systems for transit agencies in which on-demand replaced underperforming routes. For Key West Transit, on-demand returned an entire service delivery and terminated a set schedule.
"The difference is that the demand-response allows the passengers to request rides at the time they want rather than relying on a set schedule," said Delostrinos.
Key West Transit was also able to expand transit coverage in the community that was lost to the previous reduction of service. The service also collects data that informs how, where, and when the city could build future fixed routes based on an aggregation of passengers going to the same destination around the same time. The four-month-old Work Force Express is the first offspring fixed route created due to the Key West Rides On Demand Transit service.
Riders can explore these innovative services on the City's website or download the Key West Rides app at the Apple App Store or Google Play.